Headlines > News > Station Crew Kicks Off Week with Spacesuit Work and Columbus Upgrades

Station Crew Kicks Off Week with Spacesuit Work and Columbus Upgrades

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Mon Aug 25, 2014 9:07 pm via: NASA
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Expedition 40 crew members started the work week on spacesuit maintenance, Columbus module upgrades and microgravity science.  A space station trio is also preparing for its departure in two weeks.

Commander Steve Swanson and Flight Engineer Reid Wiseman partnered up Monday to replace a fan pump separator on a U.S. spacesuit. Two U.S. spacewalks had been scheduled in August but were postponed until after the SpaceX 4 mission launches no earlier than Sept. 19. The Dragon commercial cargo craft will be delivering new batteries for the spacesuits.

Wiseman started his day with maintenance on the Binary Colloidal Alloy Test – C1 (BCAT-C1) fluid physics experiment. He replaced camera batteries and transferred sample imagery captured on a flash card to a computer. BCAT-C1 observes nano-scale particles suspended in liquids, also called colloids, with results potentially benefitting the production of plastics and extending the shelf life of consumer products.

The commander first joined cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev Monday morning for Kentaur suit adjustments. The protective suits are worn by a Soyuz crew during reentry into Earth’s atmosphere. The anti-gravity suits prevent blood from pooling in a crew member’s legs helping facilitate the adjustment to gravity.

The trio is due to return home Sept. 10 ending a five-and-a-half month stay at the International Space Station. They launched March 25 aboard a Soyuz TMA-12M spacecraft for a two day ride to the Poisk docking compartment. When Swanson, Skvortsov and Artemyev undock Expedition 41 will officially begin with Flight Engineer Max Suraev assuming command of the orbital laboratory.

Artemyev then began a session with the Virtual study that observes how crew members visually adapt to the potentially disorienting effects of spatial position in microgravity. Skvortsov then followed up for his turn with the ongoing Russian experiment as Artemyev moved on to a photographic inspection of the Zvezda service module’s interior.

Suraev worked during the morning copying data and updating software on laptop computers in the station’s Russian segment. In the afternoon, he sampled surfaces inside the Zarya cargo module. In between the sampling work, he joined his fellow cosmonauts to record a video segment for a Russian television station.

German astronaut Alexander Gerst, from the European Space Agency, worked throughout Monday in the Columbus laboratory. He is upgrading the European Drawer Rack with the installation of the Electromagnetic Levitator (EML). The EML is a furnace that suspends metals in mid-air then heats and cools them rapidly to reveal the core processes of metallurgical physics in microgravity.

A pair of nanosatellites that had failed to deploy last week spontaneously deployed Saturday afternoon. This prompted ground teams to power down the NanoRacks Cubesat Deployer outside the Kibo lab module and check its status while ballistics specialists began tracking the Cubesats. Mission specialists have determined there are no safety issues concerning the crew or the spacecraft.

A new Expedition 41 trio is in Star City, Russia, counting down to its Sept. 25 launch aboard a Soyuz TMA-14M spacecraft. Two veteran space-flyers, NASA astronaut Barry Wilmore and Soyuz Commander Alexander Samoukutyaev, will join new cosmonaut Elena Serova for the near six-hour, or four-orbit, ride to the space station. They are scheduled to return to Earth March 2015.

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